Council of Martyrs' Families: The Heart of the Revolution

So far, 11,804 fighters have died in the defense of Northern and Eastern Syria. New ones are added every day due to the attacks. The Council of the Families of Martyrs takes care of the relatives in eight committees and 199 municipalities.

The Council of Martyrs' Families represents one of the most important institutions of the Autonomous Administration for the people of Northern and Eastern Syria, as almost every family has martyrs who died in the defense of the revolution and the region. Since the revolution began in 2012, 11,804 fighters have fallen and the number continues to grow every day. The number of spouses of martyrs alone is at least 3,893, and the number of children of martyrs is 11,585. Hêvî Seyîd, who is responsible for the Council of Martyrs' Families, said: "When we visit the families, the women draw strength from our presence. We are also relatives of martyrs. They receive support from both us and society and realize that they are not alone."

The Council of Martyrs' Families was organized in the Shehba region before the revolution in 2008 as the Committee of the Martyrs of Shehba. With the beginning of the revolution in Rojava, the first conference of the families of the martyrs took place on 28 July 2011 in the village of Bestasus in Dêrik. After the conference, small groups began to organize in each city. As an institution for the relatives of the martyrs, the association continued to spread and has continued its work in all cities since 2015 as the Council of Martyrs' Families. The Council is organized into eight committees and covers 199 municipalities. These municipalities are closely linked to the municipalities as central units of grassroots democratic self-government. The communes of the Council consist of 25 to 50 people.

The Council held its first congress this year and is in Shehba, Aleppo, Manbij, Kobanê, Tabqa, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, Shedadê (ash-Shaddadi), Hesekê, Til Temir, Til Berak, Dirbêsiyê , Amûdê, Qamişlo, Tirbespiyê, Til Hemîs, Til Koçer, Dêrik and Girkê Legê as well as in the Serêkaniyê and Wasokanî camps.

There are 11 council graveyards. These are located in Dêrik, Qamishlo, Hesekê, Raqqa, Kobanê-Sirîn, Manbij, Aleppo and Shehba. The number of martyrs buried there is broken down by city as follows: Shedadê 426, Til Hemîs 90, Amûdê 74, Manbij 351, Til Koçer 96, Kobanê 1,739 martyrs in four graveyards for martyrs, Qamishlo 891 martyrs in two graveyards for martyrs, Dêrik 980 martyrs, Raqqa 420 martyrs in two graveyards for martyrs, Tirbespiyê 194 martyrs, Aleppo 38 martyrs, Shehba 220 martyrs in two graveyards for martyrs, Hesekê 1090 martyrs in three graveyards for martyrs, Dirbêsiyê 544 martyrs, Til Hemîs 269 martyrs, Deir ez-Zor 349 martyrs in three graveyards for martyrs and Tabqa 230 martyrs.

Council Committees and Academies

The Council, similar to municipalities in Rojava in general, has committees established as needed. One important committee is the Council's Education Committee. The committee is responsible for educating all members of the council on the principles of a gender-free, ecological and democratic society. Vocational training and other further training are also offered at the council’s academies. This applies in particular to the children of those who died. Their education is supported and organized at every level, both material and intellectual. At the same time, the council creates the basis for family members to also be able to take part in educational programs. In this sense, the council places emphasis on the Academy for the Children of the Martyrs and aims to expand its own school model in all cities, offering two-year computer training, as well as electronics, design, physics, chemistry, mathematics, Kurdish, English and Arabic training. At the moment, there is the 'Sehîd Beşîr Qamişlo School' for technology as a pilot project.

Another important committee is the Understanding and Reconciliation Committee. The committee tries to solve all social problems of relatives on the basis of understanding and the principle of building a moral-political society.

At the same time, there is an evaluation and monitoring committee whose task is to track and analyze the families' situation and determine the families' needs. The committee prepares a needs report for each family.

Health care with limited options

The Health Committee is concerned with improving public health care and expanding care for the families of martyrs despite the limited resources due to the embargo and war. At the same time, it is about health education.

Economy based on society

Like every self-governing institution, the Council also has an economic committee that is committed to building a communal, cooperative-based, grassroots democratic economy. The committee sets up cooperatives in which the relatives of the fallen can work and through which they are cared for. The cooperatives particularly include agriculture and livestock breeding.

A memory of society

The Archives and Press Commission represents the heart of the Council. Here the data and reports, diaries and information about the fallen are recorded and shared with the public.

Organizing children and partners of fallen soldiers

The Women's Council and the mothers of the martyrs take direct care of the partners of the martyrs. The Women's Council participates in all full council activities and held its first conference on 25 May 2021. The second congress followed on 25 August 2023. At the conference, criticism and self-criticism were particularly expressed and it was decided to improve the work.

60 fallen internationalists

Hesen Ubeyd from the Council of Martyrs' Families in Cizîrê Canton said: "We have martyrs every day. As the Council of Martyrs' Families, we are always ready to support the families of the martyrs, especially their partners and children. Our main task is to help these families. The blood of Kurdish, Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Aramaic, Turkmen, German, French, Canadian, Egyptian and many other international martyrs has mixed on the soil of Northern and Eastern Syria. There are around 60 fallen internationalists. Nine families have visited our region and are committed to their children’s fight."

“Our job is to create solutions”

Hêvî Seyîd, head of the Women's Council of Martyrs' Families in Cizîrê Canton, said in an interview with ANF: "Our goal is to introduce the 'Şehîd Bêşîr Qamişlo School' of technology in all cities. Our preparations go in this direction. Kurdish, English and Arabic languages and music are taught in the summer months. We are using the closure of schools to focus on raising healthy and conscious children. The partners of the martyrs go through ideological and professional training in academies. They are also involved in activities such as painting, sewing and embroidery, as well as in farming and livestock breeding in cooperatives to secure their livelihood. In addition to the Women's Council, partners of fallen soldiers work in many areas, from health to trade, from women's institutions to business. Our job is to understand women's feelings, show them to understand and support them. When we visit families, women draw strength from us. We are also relatives of the martyrs. They get strength from us and from society. They feel that they are not alone."